NFLPA Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith, to present keynote address at 2023 SFMA Conference

DeMaurice Fitzgerald Smith, executive director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the labor union for players of the National Football League (NFL), will serve as the keynote speaker for the 2023 SFMA Conference and Exhibition in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The keynote presentation will be “A Safer Field of Play? The NFLPA and Its Advocacy for Player Health and Safety.”

Smith and the NFL Players Association have been at the forefront of issues surrounding NFL Player health and safety since the groundbreaking achievements negotiated into Smith’s first collective bargaining agreement with the NFL.

Smith was reappointed to his fifth term as NFLPA executive director in fall 2021. In March 2020, he successfully negotiated his second long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement with the National Football League. The eleven-year deal will introduce an additional game into the regular season but also provide players with their guaranteed highest share of NFL revenue in history.

Almost immediately following ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement, he led the negotiations with the NFL to create comprehensive Covid-19 protections and protocols for his membership, obtained comprehensive testing and opt out provisions for players and designed the return to play agreements that secured NFL Players being paid their full salary for the season despite a projected $3 billion revenue shortfall for the NFL in 2020. The NFL was able to play an entire season, playoffs, and Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay, Florida during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On August 4, 2011, Smith signed an historic 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with NFL management, leading the Players through the owners’ 132-day lockout. The two Collective Bargaining Agreements remain the longest standing agreements between labor and management in any sports league.

Prior to his post at the NFLPA, Smith was an Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Columbia and was Counsel to then-Deputy Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. Smith served as a Partner in the international law firms of Latham & Watkins, LLP and Squire Patton Boggs, LLP, in Washington, D.C. where he represented corporations, boards of directors and senior executives in civil and criminal matters.

Smith is a sought-after motivational speaker for corporations, labor unions, and charities, and a guest lecturer and distinguished speaker on college campuses around the country on the topics of leadership, ethics, sports law, and high-stakes negotiation. Smith, a native Washingtonian, resides in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area with his family.

The keynote presentation takes place on Wednesday, January 18, from 11 a.m. – Noon. Lunch and SFMA’s Annual Meeting will follow.